If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. ~~ I John 1:8-2:11 (KJV)
News flash!! We are not perfect and sinless. Even those who walk very closely with God still sin. The only perfect person who ever walked the earth was Jesus. The rest of us are poor followers of His example.
But God has fixed that. He has given us a way to take care of sin. If we confess it, He forgives it.
John juxtaposes darkness and light with sin and forgiveness. This is not accidental. We see our sins only in the light of His perfection. We recognize our sin when we see it as disobedience to His will. We repent of our sin when we agree with God that it is wrong.
My house was built in 1911, more than a hundred years ago. It has twelve rooms on two floors and a full basement. When I think about cleaning the whole house, I cringe. It would take a crew of ten working a month or more to get it all done at once. But if I look at one room at a time, it is a different matter. One room is not overwhelming. The whole house is.
God is gracious with us about cleaning up our lives. He doesn’t floodlight all our faults and sins at once. He takes a flashlight to one corner at a time. We confess our sins, one by one, if we are serious about dealing with them. And He forgives each of them, one by one, as we recognize and confess each one.
There’s another thing about a clean house. It generally doesn’t stay that way. People track dirt, mud, leaves and such in on their feet. We forget to put something back where we got it, or we just lay it down anywhere, thinking to put it away later. Dust filters in through the windows and doors. And soon the house is a mess again.
The world, the flesh and the devil are working hard to keep us from holiness. The world leaves its tracks on our lives. Our flesh grows weary and careless. The devil filters in to take advantage of the slightest opening. And we need to confess, yet again.
There is bad news and good news. The bad news is that this dealing with sin will be a constant in our lives til we get to go home. The good news is that He is faithful and just to forgive us when we confess. It is His fidelity, not ours, that saves us.
Grant us the light to see the smallest of sins before it grows into a large one. Help us to be watchful for the infiltrations of the enemy, no matter how rational his arguments may sound. Strengthen us for the daily battle against sin.
In Jesus’ most precious name.
First published on Garment of Praise December 26, 2009